Read Part One HERE and Part Two HERE.

As the Cold War matured, the mission of Det A evolved, shifting gears to face a new threat that the Western World was unprepared for. In the early 1970’s there had been a rash of aircraft hijackings, many perpetrated by the Palestinian nationalists belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP). The slowly escalating threat turned into a crucible for German authorities in 1972 when Palestinian terrorists belonging to a group calling themselves Black September took Israeli athletes hostage during the summer olympics in Munich. The German police attempted to bait the terrorists into an ambush, where they could be taken out by sniper fire without hurting the hostages, but the crisis ended in a massacre, with both terrorists and hostages slain.

The specter of international terrorism had reared its ugly head. The German federal police, wholly unprepared to deal with the threat, were tasked to create a counter-terrorism unit called GSG-9, commanded by Colonel Ulrich Wegener.

The Americans took a while longer to catch up but a few years later Detachment A was tasked with a new mission under OPLAN 0300: counter-terrorism. In addition to their stay behind mission, the Det A members now had to be prepared to carry out counter-terrorism operations. The main concern for the unit, was the hijacking of American Pan Am flights into and out of Berlin but Det A was also charged with protecting and capturing any other hijacked American aircraft in Europe. The Baader Meinhof gang also posed a threat in Det A’s area of operations, and one team from the unit was assigned the task of countering the communist terrorist organization, especially after they kidnapped the mayor of Berlin.